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Top 5 worst and top 5 best cabin locations

Top 5 worst and top 5 best cabin locations
August 2nd, 2012 10:05 am     A+ | a-
no sleepIt happens all the time.  Someone spends thousands of dollars on a cruise and then they end up not able to sleep at night as the sounds of running and chairs scraping on the deck above them keeps them tossing and turning all night long.  To avoid being disappointed in your stateroom, we have compiled a list of the top 5 locations you might want to think twice about before booking.

(Note: You can use our cabin check tool to see what is above and below your cabin.  Check out this link to see if your ship is on the list: )
1.  Under the Lido deck.  This isn't always called the Lido Deck on each ship, but its the deck that commonly will have the pool, buffet and other deck space.   The trouble with having a stateroom under the Lido deck is that there usually is activity happening there all the time, especially under the buffet area.  You may hear jumping, chair scraping, and running.  This may go on till 1 or 2 in the morning.  Then at about 4 or 5 in the morning the crew will be up getting things ready to go.  If you are under the kitchen area you may hear the crew firing up the stove and preparing for the breakfast buffet.  Cruise ships will often have deck parties on the Lido deck.
2.  Near a white space on the deck plan.  The deck plans usually only show areas of concern to the cruise passengers.  What you don't see is housekeeping rooms, crew only elevators, laundry rooms, and more.  Unless you know what is in the blank white areas on the deck plans it is best to avoid them.  In some cases it may be the housekeeping supply room.  Cruisers have been awakened very early in the morning as the housekeepers work to prepare their supplies for the day.  There can be activity in and out of the rooms and you may hear doors open and close constantly.
3.  Over the lounge.  The lounges to watch out for are the ones where bands may play and passengers dance.   Sometimes these venues run till after midnight.  And if you are trying to have some quiet time in your stateroom right above the lounge, you may instead be hearing the beating of the music and the noise from the lounge below your stateroom.  When Norwegian moved the Spinnaker lounge on a couple of their ships to the aft on deck 7, the staterooms above on deck 8 (that use to be over a very quiet gift shop) now were over a popular lounge that can be very noisy well after midnight.  
4.  Forward staterooms on a lower deck.  These staterooms that are up in the front of the ship on a lower deck may seem like they would be out of the way of all the bustle and noise of the ship, but they are subject to a different kind of sound.   From here you can usually here the sound of the waves crashing into the side of the ship as it moves through the water.  And it isn't the romantic sound of waves crashing, it can instead be loud and shocking.  If you are subject to motion sickness, this is also not a location for you as you will tend to bounce around more here when seas are rough.  For motion sickness the best staterooms are in the lower center of the ship.
5.  Over or under the casino.  Casinos deliberately use noise to try to attract customers and put them in the mood for gambling.  So all those slot machines have their volume cranked up to try to draw you in.   The problem is, if you are in a stateroom above or below the casino, you don't want to be drawn in if you are trying to sleep.   Unless you love to go to sleep with the sounds of Las Vegas pounding in your head, we would avoid booking a stateroom near the casino. 
There are other areas to watch out for, such as near the gangways or other areas with lots of foot traffic going by. The other area not to be under is the gym, unless you like the sound of treadmills over your head at 5 in the morning.
Okay, on the flip side there are some good stateroom locations that tend to lead to a much better cruise experience.  As long as the following staterooms don't meet any of the criteria above then you should be good to go.   The top 5 best locations are as follows:
1.  In between other staterooms.   If your cabin has staterooms above, below, and on all sides of it then you are more likely to have a good experience in the cabin.   This is not always a guarantee though as you may end up with a neighbor that likes to crank up the TV volume.  But normally the other passengers around you are also looking to get some sleep so that they can enjoy the next day's activities.
2.  On the aft of the ship (photo to left courtesy of Princess Cruises).  Aft cabins tend to be very popular because they offer wonderful views of the wake of the ship and don't usually have a lot of neighbors.  You still need to be aware of what is around your stateroom though.  On some Princess ships, for example, the aft stateroom might be near a loud exhaust vent that also might be releasing some unpleasant smells (check out the blank white spaces).  On some of the larger newer cruise ships there also have been some complaints of soot on the aft balconies.  But for the most part the aft cabins are a hit and cruise customers love them.
3.  Midship staterooms.  A Midship stateroom on a upper deck tends to lead to a better cruise experience.   The location can make getting around easier since you are located in a more central location to where you want to be.  Some of the ships are very large and walking from one end of the ship to another may give you more exercise than you want.  Also because the elevators can sometimes be busy, if you have to use the stairs, this location will mean less stairs to go up or down.  
4.  Expanded balconies.  Sometimes the deck plans show them and sometimes they don't but some cabins have larger balconies than others.   Space is everything on a cruise ship and these extra spaces  can make your cruise experience that much better.  Instead of sitting on a cramped balcony, these balconies tend to have loungers that allow you to really stretch out.  Some of them are covered (protected from the weather and wind) and some are open (lots of sun).  Several Carnival ships have expanded balconies marked out on the deck plans.  On some of the Grand Princess class ships the last aft cabins on the port and starboard side of the emerald and dolphin decks have expanded balconies.
5.  Hidden Gems.  There are lots of these on a cruise ship and a good cruise/travel agent will know about them.  For example, forward oceanview cabins on the upper decks of some Celebrity ships, such as the Celebrity Summit, are much larger than a normal oceanview and the large porthole window offers some fantastic views of the bow of the ship (see picture to right).  On some smaller Princess ships, such as the Dawn Princess, the oceanview cabins on the forward of the Dolphin deck offer a very large balcony sized window.  On some Carnival ships, such as the Carnival Legend, some inside cabins on the Main deck actually have french doors that let in a lot of light and some of them actually have a view through the lifeboats.
There is a lot more that we could add to the list.  Because cruise ships designers only have a certain amount of space to work with, they can sometimes be very creative in how they lay out the staterooms.  Studying the deck plans and studying cabin pictures help to determine what is good and what is not so good, but the best way to know is to actually take an adventure onto the high seas yourself and try out the different types of staterooms.

Steve Millay, ACC
August 3rd, 2012 11:37 pm
I was just on the Carnival Triumph, room 8410, below the back of the lido - pool deck. I didn't think it would be too bad, as usually the rear pool bar closes early at night. My room was near the 24 hour pizzeria. DON'T STAY IN THIS AREA. Due to the wooden deck, you will hear chairs and tables being moved between 11 pm and 5 am while you are attempting to sleep. It's constant. It seemed at 4:45 AM the staff was cleaning this area. One night they had a private party at the rear pool area, a dj started at 11 pm and it went until 3 am. BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM you get the picture.
August 5th, 2012 1:09 pm
Celebrity Solstice, Sky Suite 2148 is directly beneath the Ocean View bar. The chairs on the outside decking of the bar screech away all day long. Even though the bar closes at 10:00 pm the screeching does not always stop. I assume crew go to sit out there after the bar closes. Strangely enough the screeching isn't bad if you are actually in the bar. You wouldn't think it could be bothering someone directly below. It just seems to resonate into the deck space below ( i.e. Deck12... Resort Deck).
dave j
August 5th, 2012 5:07 pm
The comments by the author about the front of the ship, on lower decks is somewhat correct. In order for the noise of the ship crashing and shuddering through the ocean the seas have to be fairly rough, even then the experince can still be more than tolerable. Have stayed on the lower decks, front of the ship on Carnival and Holland. Went through rough seas on both, not every time, but maybe twice on Carnival and on HAL. The shuddering at times can wake you, but most likely you feel it all over the ship, maybe more so in the front
Jim B
August 6th, 2012 12:02 pm
I agree with dave j. I have been on some lower decks, especially on HAL and in some 18 foot seas and the noise was still not that big a problem.
Lisa V
August 24th, 2012 5:10 pm
I sell cruises for a living and when I am looking at a cabin selection for a client, I always look to see what is above and below the cabins they are looking at and advise them before booking. My favorite spot to be is on a higher deck forward, generally it is quieter and I always select a deck that has staterooms above and below. The reason I always booked forward too is there is less foot traffic because there are less cabins for people to be walking to.
Old Sarge
October 9th, 2012 4:41 pm
We sailed the Carnival Liberty and our cabin was directly below the Lido deck. Later that day after we sailed, I checked with my neighbors and people across the hall and we all had noise problems. I think I was the only one that complained. Housekeeping said they would block off the area of my cabin at 11 pm. It worked fine the first night after complaining but the second night I went up at 2 a.m. and saw they only blocked the area above my balcony. I had three ship's officers in my cabin to prove my complaint and since they were booked full, they couldn't move me. I got the usual $100 discount for my next Carnival 7 day cruise and a bit off my cruise fare. I swore off Carnival forever. That is until I found I good deal on the Miracle next March through the Canal. I made sure my cabin was where I wanted it. Surrounded by other cabins. No noisy facilities nearby.
CJ Pepin
February 10th, 2013 4:58 pm
We were on the Starboard side, Emerald deck of the Golden Princess, in the very first forward oceanview cabin - it sounded almost all the time like someone was slamming huge doors all the time. We came to find out it was the crashing of the waves against the ship - never never again! Was a great cruise to Hawaii, had great service and food and entertainment - but a lousy cabin!
May 16th, 2013 10:21 am
Never travel anywhere without earplugs. I have been all over the world and would never leave home without them.
July 2nd, 2013 11:13 pm
On our last cruise, PRIDE OF AMERICA, (because of noise problems in our outside cabin) we were up graded to an aft facing cabin....what a stroke of good fortune... it was the best cabin you could hope for, (apart from the most expensive suites) it was just like being on your own private cruise ship, the 180 degree view was awesome, especially at night watching the wake of the ship all lit up...the area of the balcony was one third bigger than the normal ones..2 sun lounges , good size table and 2 chairs...hardly any outside noises as the only passengers moving about, were our neighbours, or the odd passenger that got lost... we had 2 other cabins on each side of only problem now is, that ive been spoilt to the point that i will only sail in of those cabins, which we are doing next april, on the radiance of the seas pacific island cruise...the extra 40% price is well worth it, if you have never tried it, i can certainly recommend it....
December 7th, 2013 8:39 am
With all the different cabins we have had from the Villa to a window cabin we love mostly the aft cabins (with GEM, Jade, Jewel having the best). We love a large balcony front or aft. If you can't fit a lounge chair (one to nap on)then its not big enough.
Vegas Guy
December 18th, 2013 1:53 am
Seadog, if you want to be spoiled on the NCL Pride of America, book cabin 10000, an Owner's Suite that spans the entire width of the ship on deck 10, immediately below the bridge. EVERY space (bath, bedroom, living room and dining area) has a view beyond the balcony overlooking the bow of the ship. The Captain MIGHT have a better view while at work, but not from his cabin.
February 1st, 2014 1:53 pm
On the Norwegian star, beware of the forward inside cabins on deck 4. See check out white spaces on the deck plan. I wish we had known this before. we never found out what these white spaces were, but they were pretty noisy. Banging, creaking, mechanical noises, all kinds of noise.

Oh and bow thrusters when docking!! not a problem unless docking very early. we managed to cope with it, mainly because one of us can sleep through anything, the other always uses ear plugs. Not so our travelling companions. They were totally unable to cope, and after several complaints and calling out late at night of management, they were moved nearer midships and to an outside cabin, plus a bottle of wine and fruit by way of apology.

Just goes to show, don't put up with it. Complain. Fortunately the ship wasn't full or things might have been different.

Another couple who were located close to the late disco bar were also moved. It certainly pays to check out your cabin location beforehand and this alone is worth subscribing to this site.
November 6th, 2016 8:30 am
While we watch out for those dreaded "white spaces" when booking, I will say it helps to have a good agent. We book on HAL directly through the website or their booking office. Twice now we've had fantastic cabins, thanks to the HAL booking agent. One was cabin 401 on the Zuiderdam. It is the first cabin on the bow, and the balcony and cabin are a bit smaller because of ship design (no room for a bath tub, for example). But when I stepped out on the balcony and saw that the open space on the bow of the ship was directly to my left, I was pleased! Sitting out there, we could see forward over a short balcony wall over the bow of the ship. It was marvelous! There was noise in port when the anchor dropped, or when the crew's observation deck opened (a large door the swung down to make a deck to view docking procedures) but nothing that was disruptive during our usual sleep hours.
So review those deck plans but also cultivate a good relationship with your agent (independent or via cruise line office) and ask for their best suggestion.
Roger M
November 22nd, 2016 10:27 pm
Just ended a 7night on NCL Breakaway cabin 14782. Wish I had read the advice here about choosing a cabin. Constant noise from ppl running and jumping on the pool/restaurant deck above. I learned my lesson.
January 8th, 2017 2:31 pm
Celebrity Constellation - Deck 11 - Cabin 1140 / Probably THE BEST cabin we've ever had. The middle of five aft cabins, 1140 has a balcony that is huge. By that, I mean, it's the same size as the cabin! about 10-11 feet wide and easily 25 feet deep. There is an overhang of about 6 feet, so there is some privacy. Enough room for 2 loungers, 2 small side tables and a large circular table, with space to walk around without bumping into stuff. High dividers (that can be opened) on both sides. Directly over the Oceanview Bar, so you can enjoy the music from the entertainers, without being blasted. If there is any downside, it's that (when in port) the Maltese flag is flown from the aft mast. If it's windy, the flag does "snap and flap".
Edwin Barnes Sr.
March 28th, 2017 10:52 am
I just book a cruise on Cornival liberty and after calling over and over they said my room
Would be assigned I don't think this is right I have already paid and they should be able to assign me a room at once I called and informed them that I did not want to be in a hole on the right engine room But does it not matter to them they held their ground and said they still would've signed a room I don't think they care too much for the right of passenger that is going a going on a cruise with Carnival this need to be taken care of it's not right how they are handle things
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